Join a walk and talk at Gibside

A group on a tour

Gibside’s history is full of fascinating figures, dramatic stories, wonderful achievements and even scandal.

With such a turblulent history, full of twists and turns, there's a lot to say about this 18th century estate. So we're grateful to the knowledgeable and friendly volunteer guides on hand to host regular history walks and talks at Gibside.

History talks and walks take place every Friday, Sunday and Monday. 

Access into the grounds is free for National Trust members, otherwise normal admission chagres apply. Once inside the grounds, the talks and walks are free and four-legged friends are welcome too. Please wear sensible walking shoes as there may be some uneven terrain.

History talks, start at 11.30am

The history talks are a ‘taster’ of Gibside’s story lasting roughly 20-30 minutes. There are six themes for the history talks, which you can see below: Mary Eleanor, Coal, George Bowes, the stables, the chapel and the Gibside timeline. 

Gibside Story – The first recorded mention of Gibside was in the 1200s. Since then it has changed a lot. Hear of Gibside’s birth, rise, demise and protection when the National Trust took over.

George Bowes – “Give me room to make new beauties!” cried George Bowes in 1735. It is this man’s vision that led to the Gibside we see today. Discover his story.

Mary Eleanor – The Countess of Strathmore lived a life of drama, riches, scandal and strife. Hear her moving story and eventual triumph as the first woman to keep her property after divorce.

Chapel – James Paine’s Palladian chapel is a Grade 1 listed building, discover the craftsmanship, beauty and stories behind its design.

Coal – not known as ‘black diamonds’ for nothing! Discover how coal mining changed the face of the North East and its vast profits changed the fate of Gibside.

Stables – The Bowes family loved their racehorses and built a fine stable to house them, complete with decorative niches for statues. Find out this dramatic building’s story.

(This specific talk meets in the Stables courtyard.)

History walks, start at 1pm

The history walk lasts roughly 60 minutes and takes you along the avenue, then back towards the chapel while a guide shares with you an account of Gibside’s history.

You'll hear the full story. The volunteer guides are all passionately and personally involved in researching and uncovering Gibside’s history …so no walk is the same. Each guide will share with you what interests them in particular about Gibside’s scandalous, intruding, moving and turbulent history.

The floor will be open for questions, so if there's anything you're particularly interested in hearing about, you can ask.